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Digital destinations: Be inspired by best practice


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A presentation made to a Danish delegation comprising policy makers and practitioners. The theme for their visit was the "learning journey" and "be inspired by best practice" and it focused on Dorset's Jurassic Coast, traditional ports and resorts, and the New Forest National Park. The PI presented on how Digital Destinations contributed to destination development and marketing.

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Digital destinations: Be inspired by best practice

  1. 1. Digital Destinations Presentation to Danish delegation 26th September 2013 LinkedIn (digital destinations group) @PhilipAlford | @SchoolofTourism #DDBU
  2. 2. Aims - summary To create a knowledge network for the creation and sharing of small business digital marketing best practice and knowledge. To identify the determinants of small business engagement with digital marketing.
  3. 3. Economic and Social Research Council “We are the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. We support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector.” More information at:
  4. 4. Importance of small businesses • In the UK micro enterprises account for around 87 per cent of hospitality businesses • 91.8% of businesses in the EU are micro (less than 10 employees) (European Small Business Alliance 2013) • EU FP7 funding program to support research in support of SMEs • Web-checkers tourism SME LinkedIn group (Fáilte Ireland) • Support programs provided by National and Regional DMO • Federation of Small Businesses
  5. 5. Why small businesses need help • Annual turnover rate of nearly a quarter for tourism businesses • Small businesses in general lag behind with online marketing • However despite the significance of small businesses in the visitor economy, “most studies of tourism SMEs have focused on conditions of entry and paid very limited attention to business development and growth processes” (Pearce and Butler 2010: 83). Pearce, D. G. and R. Butler (2010). Tourism research: a 20-20 vision / edited by Douglas G. Pearce and Richard W. Butler, Oxford: Goodfellow. Shaw, G., & Williams, A. M. (2010). Tourism SMEs: changing research agendas and missed opportunities. In D. Pearce, & Butler. (Eds.), Tourism Research: A 20:20 vision. Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers. Chapter 7.
  6. 6. 60 Organisations • • • • • • • Accommodation Arts & Culture Conference & Events Education & Outdoor Adventure Attractions Retail DMO
  7. 7. Application form • Please tell us what particularly inspired/motivated you to apply for this programme. “Having recognised the importance in the fast growing nature of digital/ online marketing, a key priority to us over the next 12 months is to focus on online marketing within our marketing strategy - making the most of the various online marketing channels we currently use, as well as effectively implementing new ones. This programme has come along at the perfect time to help us make the most of the opportunity.”
  8. 8. First seminar – needs analysis 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Digital Olympians Apps Fab Online Crusaders AppPrentices Digital Dragons Social Maniacs
  9. 9. Student-Business
  10. 10. Student-Business
  11. 11. Student-Business
  12. 12. Business digital plans • All plans uploaded to and being disseminated via social media • Case example at fe-castle-case-study
  13. 13. Conclusion - issues • • • • • • • • Lots of information on the ‘why’ but little on the ‘how’ Lack of time and human resource (the owner/manager syndrome - doing everything) Inadequate IT skills Lack of marketing know-how - while small businesses have entrepreneurial skills they lack the formal marketing knowledge required to plan effectively Lack of measurable goals for their digital marketing mainly due to being unaware of the online metrics that can be set – focus on end sales Lack of awareness of the customer engagement process and channels/KPIs that apply at different stages of that process Related to point above, many small businesses not completely convinced of the ROI on digital marketing Outsourcing some or most of their digital marketing without having a clear plan or knowledge thereby losing control and insight
  14. 14. Conceptual model – evolving from exploratory analysis
  15. 15. Digital Destinations LinkedIn (digital destinations group) @PhilipAlford | @SchoolofTourism #DDBU